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Inside the Numbers: Rookie LB Starters

Darron Lee & Jordan Jenkins Did Something at KC That Hadn't Been Done by Jets in a Dozen Seasons


Both first-round rookie Darron Lee and third-round rookie Jordan Jenkins — in his pro debut — got starts against the Chiefs. Lee has been flying to the ball all season, and about Jenkins, DC Kacy Rodgers said, "We thought he did a pretty good job."

It's been a little while since two rookie linebackers have started in the same game for the Jets. You'd have to go back to 2004, when first-rounder Jonathan Vilma started at Mike and undrafted free agent Mark Brown at Sam for the last six games plus two playoff games that season.

But two rookie LB starters this early in a season? You'd have to go back to 1976, when Greg Buttle and Bob Martin on the outside and Steve Poole in the middle started made it three rookie starters in the season opener at Cleveland. That was Poole's only pro start, while Buttle and Martin started virtually the entire season together.

Decker Nears a New Record
WR Eric Decker already set one less celebrated yet important Jets franchise record when he caught 10 red zone touchdown passes last season.

Now Decker is on the verge of another, related team mark. He won't set it Sunday against the Seahawks because he's out with a shoulder injury. But whenever he plays in his next home game, Oct. 23 vs. Baltimore or beyond, he can crack the mark for most consecutive home games with a touchdown reception.

Decker has eight TD grabs in his last eight games at MetLife Stadium. All came on passes from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, seven in his seven home games last year (he sat out the Eagles game) and No. 8 in this year's opener against Cincinnati. Not surprisingly, seven of those eight were red zone scores.

It took the Jets 50 years to break Don Maynard's six-game streak set in 1963-64, and then they did it twice in a little more than a year. Brandon Marshall caught at least one touchdown in all eight home games last season. His streak ended when he was kept out of the end zone by the Bengals on opening day.

The five longest TD reception streaks in franchise history:

Player Seasons Streak * TDs  *
Brandon Marshall 2015 8 10
Eric Decker 2015-16 (current) 8 8
Don Maynard 1963-64 6 9
Don Maynard 1961-62 5 6
Keyshawn Johnson 1998 5 5

When Fitz Needs a YardYes, there were the interceptions. As OC Chan Gailey said, "It was a bad day. We've had some good days and that was a bad one."

But Fitzpatrick did extend one area of excellence as he and the offense converted three third-and-1/fourth-and-1 situations at KC. The first two were passes to Quincy Enunwa and the third was a Fitz keeper.

That moves the QB into third place in Jets history from 1963 to present in third-and-1/fourth-and-1 conversion rate.

Last season and this season, Fitzpatrick is 8-for-8 when he keeps the ball with a yard to go, and he's 5-for-6 when he throws it. That makes him 13-for-14 overall, two conversions away from passing RB Tom Newton's 14-for-15 mark from 1978-81. But of course, one failed conversion will drop him out of this list. The top four percentages (minimum 10 attempts):

Player Seasons Conv * Att  *Pct
RB Tom Newton 1978-81 14 15 93.3
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 2015-16 13 14 92.9
RB Dwayne Crutchfield 1982-83 12 13 92.3
QB Al Woodall 1969-73 10 11 90.9

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